Thursday, February 28, 2013

An interview with Melissa Damon.

Its another wonderful day that we have another author with us in the house. She has already published two books and the third one is on the way and she's gonna tell us how she does it. Enjoy.

Let me start by asking you your name. 
Melissa Hayes.
And do you use your real name or a pseudonym? 
 Melissa Hayes  is my married name, but I use Melissa Damon as my writing name. 
I know its probably silly, but I chose Melissa Damon as my writing name because it is my maiden name and I can keep my personal life and writing/business life separate. Melissa Damon was
the girl I grew up as. She was the dreamer that came up with all of
the amazing ideas for the story. Even though I am a mother and a wife
and a business woman, I don't want to lose that part of me and forsake
the younger me. I feel that if I were to use Melissa Hayes as my
writing name instead of Damon, that I would - in a way - be copyright
Interesting. Anything you can tell us about your childhood, where were you born,
schooled and that kind of stuff?

I was born in New London, CT but I moved to McClusky, North Dakota for
five years. When I left for North Dakota, I was a pretty princess
wannabee.  I didn't realize that I was spoiled until I spent some
time there. I learned about living on a farm and working hard to make
ends meet. I learned about communicating with neighbors to get through
the harsh weather and to take care of the animals in order to have
them help you out. It was a small town with a population of around 400
people and a graduating class of 10. Because the winters there were so
harsh (they start before Halloween and end around spring), I spent a
lot of time in the house and came up with many ideas for stories. I
also came to appreciate Connecticut more while I was there and the
fact that I got to be near the ocean (I would visit CT twice a year to
see my father - my parents are divorced). There are so many people out
there, in the United States, that have never seen the ocean and I had
taken it for granted at that point.
And where do you live now?
I live in a little town called Uncasville, CT with my husband, my one
and a half year old son, and a spicy little cat named Yuna.
I don't mind cats too. So tell us did you always want to be a writer?
Tricky that one.
 Okay, what did you want to be? 
I wanted to be a psychologist at first - and I currently work in the
psychology field now to pay the bills - but writing has been part of
my life since I was very small.
I see, so when did you first consider yourself as a ”writer”?
I'm ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) so I was never good
at focusing on the lectures at class. One day, I got some advice while
watching a tv show (I can't remember which one it was). It talked
about using techniques to focus on the task at hand. So...I started to
doodle on my papers while I wrote notes for the class. It started to
work and I was concentrating better. Then, the doodles turned into sketches. 
The sketches turned
into poems and the poems turned into longer poems. Next thing I knew,
I was creating character bios and writing pieces to the story in my
free time. I was hooked. Although I always had the dream of being
famous and rich (don't we all), I wasn't writing the novel for
anyone else. I wrote it because it was something that was residing
within me that I had to get out. It wasn't until I was 22 that I
finally admitted (after seeing literally thousands of pages I had
written) that I was a writer.
 Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes.  Almost a decade. At first, it was fear that stopped me. Then
it was my need to be a perfectionist that stopped me. Finally, I ran
out of excuses and went for it. I'm so glad I did!
Please tell us more about your day job as a psychologist.
I work with children and teens at a mental health facility. I've been
there for almost 15 years now and I love working with them. They start
off with the defenses high and say things like: "you're not my
mother!" When they leave at discharge, they ask for a hug. It is an
amazing feeling to help them feel loved and appreciated, and see the
changes that occur when those two items come into play.
Lets got on to the serious stuff now. How many books have you written so far?
Three books are completed: "Stalkers: The Resurrection," "Stalkers:
The Illusion," and "Stalkers: The New Covenant."
 I understand one of them is completed but not yet out, if you had to summarize it in less than 20
words what would you say?
 Right, Two of them are published so far and the third which is "Stalkers: The New Covenant" is just going through final edits before it goes through publishing. Its tough to explain the third book
because it is part of a trilogy and I don't want to give away the
others. If I was to do an extremely brief summary of the trilogy (less
than 20), I would say: immortal teenage girl with the ability to
transform into a siberian white tiger. She must find herself before
others do.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the
original idea to finishing writing it?

"Stalkers: The Resurrection" took 11 years to complete (it took me a
long time to get up the confidence to finish it). "Stalkers: The
Illlusion" took me 5 weeks and "Stalkers: The New Covenant" took me 8
weeks to complete.
What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the
same genre or books of a different genre?

One of my silly goals is to hit as many paranormal genres for the
young adult section as possible. I have a lot more coming. I am
flustered at times because the scenes play in my head but I know that
I have to finish publishing the Stalkers trilogy before I dive
completely into the next novel.
Do you have plans for a new book? And if you do will it be part of a series?
I have two books in progress (other than the 'Stalkers' series) and
plan to dive into them once book three of the trilogy is complete. One
of them is called "UltraMarine" and is about a girl named Marine. Her
mother never allowed her near water growing up (other than the
shower). Secretly, she takes a trip with her best friend to Rhode
Island and tells her mom she is going to Arizona. The closer she gets
to the water, the more strange things start to occur. The second book
is in the very beginning stages and doesn't have a title yet, but it
is going to take a lot of research to write. I have to take ballet
classes for it (I know nothing about ballet) and read a LOT of
What genre would you place your books into?
Young adult - paranormal romance
And Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
Dreams. I dream at night and then I day dream throughout the day. The
combination of the two is where the books are created.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. As many as I can find. I am always looking for opinions. If they
are good, they make me feel great. If they are bad, they push me to
work harder. 
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your
book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?

I design them. Although I was given many options as to the covers,
there was a particular feel I wanted. I drew them countless times when
I was a teenager, but I knew in my head what I wanted later on. The
logo for Stalkers was created back when I was seventeen, and I was so
glad when I was able to put it on the cover. There used to be
scratches on the back of the cover, but I took them out (even though
they looked cool) so that the summary and images got more attention.
Have you ever suffered from a ”writer’s block”? What did you do to
get past the ”block”?

Yes. Many times. Music is my break from the block. Whenever I write a
book, I make a playlist on itunes (and now spotify). The songs on the
list play like a movie through the scenes. It isn't as much the songs
(although they are important as well), it is the feeling behind them.
For instance, a slow classical song for a lone moment with the
character reflecting on something and soundtrack score music for
dramatic fight scenes. Whenever I get stuck, I play the playlist at my
house or my car. Just like pressing play on a movie in the DVD player,
I can see it again and work through it. I also keep the playlist on my
'about the novels' page on so that others can hear
the songs that inspired the chapters of the books.
So what do you do to unwind and relax?
Lol...write. It is my coping skill when I am flustered.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events
on things that have happened to you?

Yes. About 75% of everything that happened in the "Stalkers" trilogy
happened to me in real life. I just added some paranormal fiction to
it to make it sound prettier. As for the characters, most of them are
based off a combination of several friends put together. Katerina (the
main character) is the utopian me. Anna is the real me.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
(Morals as in like Aesop's Fables type of ”The moral of this story

I'm so glad you asked that. Yes! Yes! And yes! Caroline B. Cooney
was my favorite author growing up. She had very distinct morals
through her novels and it is important to me (especially because I
work with teens) to also have morals in my novels. The first book is
about finding yourself. The second is about finding independence vs.
dependance (significant others and the possible loss of self). The
third book is about working with your enemies (or people you don't
like) for a greater good.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice." I have read it many times! 
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you
favourite/worst book to movie transfer?

I like that they are transferred to movies but I don't think I have a
favorite/worst. I always love the books more but still enjoy the
change over to movies. It's always cool to see what another person
visualizes when they read the same novel. How they envision the
characters, set, etc.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format
is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)

I am currently on book withdrawals until the third book is published.
They most current book I've read so far is the fundamentals of ballet
for an upcoming book I am working on. The last book I read for fun was
"Branded" by Keary Taylor. She is amazing and I love her characters.
It was an eBook.
Do you think eBooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Sadly, yes. I don't want them to, but I think they will.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough
to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I wish they did more. They seem to do a lot less then when I was back
in school, especially with the imaginative writing.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch
out for? and Why should we watch out for them?

There is an upcoming author named Melissa Merwin that is writing a
paranormal series. She won't be out for a while, but watch out, I've
read a little over half her novel "Second Sight" and she has blown me
Book trailers what do think about them?
Lol...they are tons of fun. A couple of my friends took an afternoon
and we did a play one of Stalkers. Its actually on youtube right now.
It wasn't official even though we put that title on there for laughs.
We just played around with the scenes (and no budget) and made our own
Lastly Melissa, what piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
No matter what, just keep writing. Don't write for others, write for yourself. And don't feel like you need to start at the beginning. Right whatever pieces come to mind, and the rest will follow. 
It was nice having you Melissa and we wish you all the best with your upcoming book.
You can contact Melissa using the following links:

Yours truly

Felix Timothy

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Should You Participate in Book Contests?

Hellooooo everybody and thank you for visiting my page and supporting OUR GROUP by your continued presence. just in case you don't know what I'm talking about I mean the Group called Books and Bookmen on NewYorker Times. And because it is OUR GROUP please feel free to post anything movie/book/writer related stuff on this page. I deliberately include ’movie’ because, first, movies are written by some writer somewhere, second, many writers(myself included) dream about their books being made into movies someday,third, I’m also writing a screenplay and fourth… everyone loves movies right?
So much about that…
Now, as usual one of my many internet research obsessions is discovering ways to promote new books by new authors (soon to be myself). I guess by now most of you have heard of (ABNAC)Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest right?
Many agree that for one to succeed in selling a lot of their books they need to employ a host of different book marketing avenues and that there’s no single way or magic formula to succeed, and book contest is just one of those avenues. Intriguingly, Amazon – one of the leading online book market place, sponsors such a contest!
Now there are three reasons why every indie/ self published author needs to seriously consider ABNAC.
1. The publicity. As the saying goes – Any publicity is good publicity and this kind of publicity is not only good for you but its good for your book as well.
2. The Publishing contract from Penguin. Again, many will agree that Penguin is one of the world’s largest book publisher, seller and distributor so striking a publishing contract is something one might want to consider. But take note of my statement. I said; ”SOMETHING ONE MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER,” and not ”SOMETHING ONE SHOULD CONSIDER.” This is so because firstly I respect all writers even those who are still writing their drafts and in addition many self published authors have rejected publishing contracts from big publishing houses simply because self publishing was doing wonder for them. If you doubt me read about John Locke here This dude is the first man to sell over ONE MILLION eBooks AS A SELF PUBLISHED AUTHOR and turned down all the big names(the likes of Penguin)…I mean why shouldn’t he?
3. The prize money. One Grand Prize winner receives a publishing contract with an advance of $50,000, and four First Prize winners will each receive a publishing contract with an advance of $15,000.
Just so you know the 2013 ABNAC is already underway, so if you’re interested you have to wait till next year around early January 2014. I can’t wait get my IONSHAKER THRILLER edited!!!
Below is a breakdown of the contest details.
Round 1 (Pitch) Amazon-selected editors read and rate an up to 300-word pitch from each entrant. The top 400 entries in each of the five categories advance to the second round.
Round 2 (Excerpt) Amazon Expert Reviewers read and rate the 3,000- to 5,000-word excerpts and provide feedback to the entrants. The top 100 entries in each of the five categories advance to the Quarter-Finals.
Quarter-Finals (Full Manuscript) Reviewers from Publishers Weekly read and rate the full manuscripts and provide feedback to the entrants. The top five entries in each of the five categories advance to the Semi-Finals.
Semi-Finals Editors with Amazon Publishing read the full manuscripts of the 25 Semi-Finalists and select five Finalists, one in each of the five categories.
Finals Amazon customers read the Finalists’ excerpts and vote for their favorite. The novel with the most votes wins the Grand Prize. All remaining Finalists receive a First Prize.
Hope this gets you interested.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What is Ionshaker?

Let me start by thanking you sooo sooo much for stepping by. I'm not sure if you were planning on it or if you just stumbled upon me. Whatever the case, I beg you to indulge me for a little bit to tell you about the chemistry behind this great story that I called Ionshaker.

Most people hopefully even you will agree with me that we live in highly volatile times, and despite the major scientific advancements that man has accomplished up to date, its sad to say, its not all for free. It comes at a great cost be it depletion of the environment, deterioration of health, arms-race, Godlessness bla bla bla actually you can't list all the negatives.

But just for a moment, lets consider what I just referred to as the 'arms race.' If you asked me to define arms-race, I would loosely describe it as the sudden urge by countries to amass for themselves stockpiles of heinous weapons capable of obliterating every living thing off the face of the earth, and for what? To prove a point - that they are superior...oh sorry, that's not the right word...that they are superpowers - yes that's the word. Superpowers.

We all know that nuclear power can be put to some good use, like for example it can be used to generate electricity right?

But now I want you to seeeeeriously think out-of-the-box for a moment.

What if there was a single portable device capable of remotely controlling all of the world's nuclear power, and when I say all I mean all - from non-military civil power plants to nuclear powered submarines cruising under the deep bellies of our oceans each  fitted with  lethal nuclear warheads. Try to imagine an scenario where this equipment can interfere with a nuclear reactor plant or detonate an nuclear warhead with only a click of a button.

And lets for the sake of ease of remembrance call this imaginary device Ionshaker, why Ionshaker - that's a story for another day. Now imagine a situation where a terrorist group are in possession of Ionshaker?

Similarly lets put a face to the ghost and give a name to this terrorist group, say - Al Fakir. Now, what on earth imaginable do you think Al Fakir would do with Ionshaker? Blow everything up? Nah. They wouldn't be that dumb, because they and their loved ones would perish as well. Perhaps, if they were smart, they'd  use it as leverage to coerce the U.S to meet their who-knows-what-crazy demands.

But we know "America doesn't negotiate with terrorists" right? so what their plan B?

Either detonated several nuclear warheads and nuclear power-plants across America to kill copious amounts of people with the explosions and radiation in order to push for the their agenda or...attack other weaker American-friendly countries with nuclear warheads.

By this point we're not kidding around, we're talking nuclear war!!!

Now imagine again for a minute that you're the sitting U.S president and its about re-election time. Its a quandary - Americans don't want another expensive war but at the same time they want to feel safe which they can because Al Fakir has taken over all of America's  nuclear power.

But there's some good news and some bad news. Good news is there are two people who can help you stop Al Fakir. Bad news is they are fugitive murder suspects on the FBI's most wanted list. What would you do? Remember two key things here; the safety of the people and re-election.

Would you use them to stop the terrorists? If you  use them, what about the political backlash? Would you put your career on the line? You say YES? Really?

Those are just but a few of the many tumultuous and conflicting scenarios that you'll experience as when you'll be reading the soon to be released action-packed suspense-thriller called IONSHAKER where
A sophisticated nuclear software is stolen, people with information start dying, and the president is forced to send two fugitives to steal Ionshaker back. The mission is urgent, dangerous and impossible."

Written by
Felix Timothy